Date: 8/1/20 5:45 am From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...> Subject: [VTBIRD] August 1, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:30 a.m. 57 degrees, wind SSE 1 mph. Sky: colorless and hidden by metastisizing ground fog, which dulls the green of the canopy. Upper permanent stream: lost its voice, flows with limp. Lower: a puddle with a pulse that retreats underground, infusing the marsh below the surface, a liquid teleprompter whose vital contribution remains off camera. Wetlands: fettered by fog; across the fen, the spires of pine and hemlock rise above the hardwoods, out of the clouds; limbed islands in a sea of mist. Pond: more murk than mist, ascends straight up like campfire smoke on a still night, charmed by two painted turtles that sink below the surface, their widening ripples overlap and merge like goofy cartoon eyes. No deerflies. Plenty of goldenrod.
August lull: pockets of birdsong framed by *long* stretches of silence. A delusional tanager, loud and hidden in the trees and fog, again, sings as though its May. A jay and a house wren above the bones of the lower stream. A red-eyed vireo, unaccompanied, a solo in the density of the mist. Across the wetlands, an owl barks, a pruned rendition of the nocturnal chart-topper. A robin with *chutzpah*, less than twenty feet away, leads the dogs and me down the road; rush, pause, rush and then flies behinds us . . . and begins again. The song of a hermit thrush, quelled by distance, reduced to a suggestion. A red-breasted nuthatch, a tricycle-horn call, rising and tedious. A titmouse whistles. Then, surprisingly, from above the fog, a loon tremolos, a bone-chilling call that transforms the morning into anything but mundane. I stop. Bound by fog and inside the long green tunnel, there's nowhere for me to look, so I listen. *If he were human*," wrote John McPhee, *it would be the laugh of the deeply insane.*
The delicacy of a foggy August morning . . . surprise me morning, surprise me.